Doomsday Compilation

•January 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Download it here. Featuring tracks by December Nightskies, John Lithium, skin contact, The Silence Bureau, silent frill, COMPACTOR, Jonny Ether, Controlled Dissonance, Raven, Mystified, somnaphon, Necron, Deccan Traps, Plastic Love Tool, Third I, ‘O Tempora, O Musicae vs SDS’, Death Mother, Bob Tavis, and Axelrod Nemoy (any musician links to the projects listed above would be greatly appreciated).

“Doomsday. The apocalypse. End times. Judgment Day.

Every culture has its own eschatology; its own vision of the end of the world. Doomsday is a compilation project to assemble tracks themed around this cataclysmic concept – noise, dark ambient, abstract sounds that reflect upon, relish in, admonish against or in some way celebrate your vision of eschatology.

When the day of reckoning is upon us, let it not be said that we were ill-prepared to provide its soundtrack.”

KK Null : Cryptozoon (01-05)

•December 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

KK NULL / CRYPTOZOON 01 (first 03:15 excerpt) by KK NULL / NUX ORG KK NULL / CRYPTOZOON 02 (excerpt 21:01 – 24:31) by KK NULL / NUX ORG KK NULL / CRYPTOZOON 03 (excerpt 20:30 – 25:35) by KK NULL / NUX ORG KK NULL / CRYPTOZOON 04 (excerpt 00:00-05:30) by KK NULL / NUX ORG

KK NULL / CRYPTOZOON 05 (00:00 – 05:55) by KK NULL / NUX ORG

KK Null sums up the basics of these singles/EPs rather succinctly on his website: “Collaborating with Chris Watson on the album “Number One” (TONE-24, Touch, UK) in 2005 caused me deep interest in “field recording” and made me to explore the sound of nature for the following years and until now. The field recordings used on “CRYPTOZOON” were recorded at various locations in Australia, Canada, Europe and Japan between 2006 and 2010 recorded by myself with a handy wav recorder.”

“However, don’t get this wrong : “CRYPTOZOON” is NOT a simple field recording album at all. I used the sound of nature as one of the materials and processed them and synthesized with electronic sound to create this unique electro-acoustic compositions.”

““CRYPTOZOON” is brutal, cosmic and intense as well as my previous works, but maybe a bit more organic and earthy. Several years experience in the bush and forest inspired my creativity and gave new color and timbre on my music.” 

This collection of recordings is most likely one of the most diverse you will find in the noise genre. Only it really is not very accurate to call the Cryptozoon albums strictly ‘noise albums’, given the wide range of genres he presents, often within a very short time period. Granted, many segments are often quite noisy, but, in a similar manner to Guilty Connector’s “Beats, Noise, And Life” record, percussive elements, moments of near-silence, and what could possibly be termed ‘pseudo-techno’ (if the phrase does not exist yet, then I am creating it for the purposes of this review) often make their presence known.

As he mentioned, field recordings are one of the main focal points of the album, and while they appear on a very frequent basis, they never feel omnipresent or intrusive in terms of the overall composition of the song/segments (in many instances, they have been extremely manipulated, so that it is sometimes difficult to determine what is a skewered field recording and what is a purely digital construction). Instead (as the macro photography of the albums seems to suggest) the recordings offer the listener a glimpse into the inner mechanics and processes of nature.

While this might not be the best introduction to KK Null’s solo work and is almost certainly not the best record in his extensive discography, it is nevertheless a very compelling study of cosmic experimental avant-garde noise electronica, one which easily elevates it above the mundane (and often sonically boring) reaches of his contemporaries. You can order these albums through the KK Null website, which will re-direct you to the distributor of your choice: Boomkat, Amazon.com, and iTunes in the future (also note that iTunes has several other KK Null albums available).

Ocrilim : Annwn

•November 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This music will test your understanding of what ‘music’ actually is. With a run time of seventy-nine minutes and only seven tracks (no track is under seven minutes long and the longest runs for a punishing fifteen minutes), Annwn subjects the listeners to vast expanses of cyclical riff formations, formed from a bass guitar and two leads. Oddly enough, despite the extremely hypnotic levels of repetition involved, there is also a large amount of variation involved as well, more so as the album progresses. Even so, this album has a reputation of alienating all but the most determined music fans, and to be completely honest, I feel that the reputation is not entirely undeserved. Yet I am also strongly convinced that much of the negative reactions are knee-jerk responses from the same sort of people who criticize musique concrete, ambient, noise, free jazz, and other ‘non-conformist’/’non-traditional’ genres. Either that, or there simply are too many people out there who cannot conceptualize ‘music’ outside the ‘classics’ and those spawned in a major-label ‘hit making’ factory for instant consumption and maximized profits. But if you have the patience, this album is a fascinating study in swiftly evolving guitar soundscapes. You will be amazed at how time itself seems to alter, especially if you listen to the album in it’s entirety. In short: Anwnn is epic.

Pete Swanson : Man With Potential

•November 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Pete Swanson – Man With Potential by _type

For some reason, I am having a lot of difficulty in making up my mind whether or not this review is ‘good enough’ or substantial enough to be written for the Music For The Rest Of Us blog. However, this album does take advantage of Soundcloud in that the entire album can be streamed for free. So at the very least you have nothing to lose in checking the album out.

If you are looking for an post-Yellow Swans album from Pete Swanson that not only presents deconstructed techno industrial noise worship but also invites lofty comparisons from music distributors and journalists (Aphex Twin, Regis, Prurient, Kevin Drumm and Vatican Shadow are among some the projects mentioned), then you are in luck: “Man With Potential” is here to fill that desire.

While this album is quite a bit different from Swanson’s earlier solo albums (which focused more on pseudo-freeform guitar soundscapes), it also evokes elements of a few of the early Yellow Swans releases (many of which were produced in extremely limited quantities). Most of the compositions feature a persistent rhythm and/or beat, although the sonic focus is shifted significantly on each track. The heavily promoted “Misery Beat” is most likely to invoke comparisons to ‘traditional techno’, including Aphex Twin, while more abrasive pieces like “A&Ox0” and the fantastic title track bring to mind, perhaps, mid-to-late era Prurient and Swanson’s involvement in Yellow Swans.

Though it is easy to endlessly name-drop musicians/bands in order to better describe this album, it is also important to remember that Pete Swanson is slowly but surely carving his own niche in a drastically overcrowded market (both in terms of what is now being termed ‘damaged electronica’ and music in general). “Man With Potential” might be a self-ironic/self-deprecating reflection, which is consistent with Swanson’s enigmatic aesthetic, but it is also completely accurate, and should he continue to release consistently high quality albums, prophetic as well.

Type Records
Boomkat
Pete Swanson (Discogs)

UR : Kulturvultur 7" & Secret Chiefs 3: Saptarshi / Radar 7"

•November 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Both tracks are good, but the second one is simply phenomenal. As a friend of mine pointed out, there are some serious Neu! vibes emanating from it. In this world of ruin and turmoil, an upbeat instrumental rock song is always welcome.

Web Of Mimicry also recently started a download store (via Bandcamp) and have made their recent Saptarshi / Radar available for download. If you can, check it out, for (like nearly all Secret Chiefs 3 related material), it is really, really, really good.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma : Shining Skull Breath

•November 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

To be completely honest, I am somewhat conflicted regarding my opinions on this album. While it is true that “Shining Skull Breath” is a blissful journey into the realm of hazily distorted drones and textures, it also suffers from the same problem that a lot of bands in this genre suffers from: a crippling lack of identity. Of course, my opinion of this stems from the fact that I discovered bands like Yellow Swans, Tim Hecker, Birchville Cat Motel and others before this one, whereas people who were familiar with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Fennesz, Emeralds, and others might have the exact same thing to say about the former bands.

Then again, apparently this guy has several different active projects, so maybe this work is not fully representative of his overall presentation. Furthermore, this was originally released in 2007 in a very limited edition, so perhaps his music might have change dramatically since then. Yet despite several listens, I still feel unable to really ‘warm up’ to the music in general.

Perhaps it is best to say that there is an over-saturation of drone bands with this type of aesthetic on the market, and to be fair I also have inadvertently contributed to this influx on occasion). I believe all of these bands have validity, but it is really hard to say whether any of them are ESSENTIAL listens or not. In any event, if you are a huge fan of any of the bands listed above, you will probably enjoy this album, but if you (as I am beginning to) feel that the genre is getting vaguely overcrowded and a little stale, this album probably will not do much to change your opinion of the situation.


Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Students Of Decay Label

Reigns : The Widow Blades

•November 11, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is one of those albums that, having bought the album on a whim, with no previous knowledge of the band, find that I had inadvertently stumbled upon a true gem. Although I have only owned it for a short period of time, I firmly believe this is one of the best indie/post-rock/alternative albums I’ve heard in years.

Despite being a huge proponent of this particular album, I must admit that I still know relatively little about the band or their past work. Most of their albums seem to be conceptually similar to their most current one, with themes of gloom, dread, and isolation recurrent. Also this album seems to veer closer to indie/post-rock, whereas their previous efforts apparently had either more of a ‘folk direction’ and some compositions which were much more electronic in nature (there are still many keyboards and synthetic elements to this album as well, but they are usually integrated more subtly in the songs). Which is why having “The Diagram” presented as one of the promotional songs is both appropriate and a little puzzling, given the fact that much of the album does not sound very similar to that song.

One of the greatest strengths of the album are the vocals. Mostly sung in a deadpan monotone, we are delivered darkly tragic narratives concerning the (possibly fictitious, in the grand tradition of great storytellers) tale of “Millicent Blades: a middle-aged widow who had disappeared during the blizzard of 1978, vanishing somewhere between the villages of Tup’s Fold and Tone Gulley. Nothing was found of her save a set of interrupted footprints and a pile of clothes – all turned inside out.” As frequently mentioned in other reviews, the lyrical content of the album is far from pleasant or happy, especially the ‘cure is worse than the disease’ metaphors found in Hybrium Sulphate and the ‘after the blackout’ morning after story of ‘I Will Burn For This’.

There have been a lot of favorable comparisons associated with this album, including Nick Cave (in my opinion especially Murder Ballads, given that it too featured winter imagery and themes of intoxication, confusion, and murder), Scott Walker, Bon Iver, and even (in my opinion) echoes of Ian Curtis and Robert Smith.

An album this awesome does not come around very often. Do yourself a favor and pick it up today.

Reigns official website
Monotreme Records

M. Gira : Drainland

•October 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

An absolutely devastating album, in my mind one of Gira’s strongest musical moments. Recorded during the “White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity” sessions, this album serves as a glimpse into the early direction of the first album by The Angels Of Light, many years later. While Drainland is similar to thematically to the majority of the previous Swans albums, there is also an endearing (if often uncomfortable and reflective) personal touch in the songs as well. The universe which Gira inhabited, during this recording and up until the break-up of the original version of Swans, was frequently bleak, alienated, and melancholic.

Tracks such as “You See Right Through Me” and “Blind” discuss Gira’s historic struggles with alcoholism, while “I See Them All Lined Up”, “Fan Letter”, and the apocalyptic “Why I Ate My Wife” is closer to mid-era Swans, with Gira ruminating on the nature of rock stardom, revenge, betrayal, love, and violence (which is also an encapsulation of Swans in general).

Roly Porter : Aftertime

•October 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The debut album of Roly Porter, formerly one half of the almighty Vex’d, is a captivating mixture of industrial, strings, world music elements and dub. With track titles referencing planets from Frank Herbert’s “Dune” universe, the compositions have moments of sweeping grandeur but also exhibit admirable amounts of restraint throughout. Reminiscent of a more atmospheric combination of Vangelis, Bad Sector, and Tim Hecker. Highly recommended.

The Tear Garden : The Last Man To Fly

•October 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“Is that the man for whom you watch and fear?”
“For whom you watch and pray?”

Hard to believe that this was released roughly ten years ago, as it has aged remarkably well and retains a timeless quality, which is one of the characteristic elements prevalent in almost every project Edward Ka-Spel is involved in. As it is frequently mentioned elsewhere, there is a definite nod to Pink Floyd, but more along the lines of a lucid Barrett-helmed Floyd, with glimpses of the future directions of Download and The Legendary Pink Dots: psychedelic kaleidoscopes of love and loss, within a universe both captivating and cruel.